Donna Berry, PhD, RN
Despite improved outcomes with new treatment and, especially, targeted therapies, patients with cancer continue to be afflicted by distressing symptoms and serious toxicities, which affect daily functioning and quality of life. Symptom burden is notable during therapy and can persist long after treatment. The patient and family experience is dominated by coping with symptom distress, including fatigue, gastrointestinal disturbances, and pain.
That monitoring could be achieved with a common technology: the patient portal component of an EHR. There are at least 5 requisites for implementation success: Patients must enroll to use the portal, the interface must be usable by patients of all literacy levels, clinicians should state the expectation that patients will use the portal to enhance communication, clinician response must be consistent and reliable, and a champion for implementation must oversee access and response metrics. The long-term results can certainly be beneficial, given careful planning and implementation.
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